Tamil Nadu will halt vaccination at the government centres from June 3 to June 5, as the state is set to exhaust its existing stock of doses. "The Centre has promised to send a fresh batch of doses of June 5, so we have little option but to suspend vaccination for two days," said state Health Minister M Subramanian, confirming a CNBC-TV18 newsbreak.
"The decision to suspend vaccination has been taken after an assessment of existing vaccine doses," the minister said. At present Tamil Nadu has a total stock of 5 lakh vaccine doses for the 18-44 age category and the 45+ age category, combined.
Earlier, CNBC-TV18 has reported that the state government was considering suspending its vaccination programme from June 3 onwards, owing to an acute shortage in vaccine doses. "The next batch of doses from Centre expected only by the second week of June," a top government source told CNBC-TV18. "We have to suspend vaccination if doses do not reach in time."
However, the state health ministry’s announcement that fresh doses from the Centre are set to arrive by June 5 means that suspension in vaccinations will only last two days.
The decision to supply Tamil Nadu with fresh batches of vaccines as early as June 5 comes even as the central health secretary had written to states and union territories on May 30, promising supply from buffer vaccine stocks so as to prevent any interruption to vaccination.
"The Central Government will provide states and union territories with available stock so as to urgently replenish their depleting vaccine stock so that vaccination drives continue on at a steady pace,” the letter said.
The Tamil Nadu government told the Madras High Court, in a suo moto hearing, that only 87.7 lakh individuals in Tamil Nadu had been vaccinated so far. This included 75.73 lakh individuals belonging to the 45+ age category and 11.97 lakh individuals in the 18+ category. The Centre has supplied 83.08 lakh doses for the 45+ category and 13.10 lakh doses for the 18+ age category.
First Published: IST